Some music artists have released literally hundreds of songs over the years, to say nothing of the ones deemed too shitty to release. BlastEcho wondered if those involved in recording so many songs could remember them all. Enter Rockers’ Block.
For each Rockers’ Block contestant, we play five random songs from their catalog, each song from the beginning, to see how long it takes for them to guess (well, maybe guess isn’t the right word) the correct song. Then once they do (hopefully), they talk a bit about the song.
Though there were Rockers’ Blocks posted on BlastEcho before the one we did with Dave Hawes, the ex-Catherine Wheel bassist was actually the guinea pig. In retrospect, we took it a little easy on him, giving him a few singles, when we should have amped up the degree of difficulty. Nonetheless, Hawes did quite well, thank you, especially for a guy who hasn’t performed any of these songs in nearly 20 years:
“Satellite” from 1997’s Adam & Eve
Hawes got it in 3.4 seconds. For that particular song I don’t have any memories but, for the album [1997’s Adam & Eve], I have great memories. [Famed producer] Bob Ezrin was involved in that album and Bob is a huge Lou Reed fan and [1973’s] Berlin is my favorite Lou Reed album. The fact that Bob Ezrin produced that was huge for me. He was executive producer so he wasn’t in the studio every day. He would walk in once a week or every 10 days or whatever. He spread his little magic dust in the studio. “Satellite” was just one of those general memories.
“Ferment” from 1992’s Ferment
Hawes got it in 3.2 seconds. That was our first album. There’s like a 10-year stretch between [“Satellite” and “Ferment”] (Editor’s note: It was actually five). [I have] different memories of Ferment. It was our first album, first time ever in a proper studio for me. You have to remember, before Catherine Wheel, I’d only played in local bands. I never did any major recording so Ferment was a big experience. We named that album after that song and it was fun to play it live because of the atmospherics although we didn’t play it live too much.
“Empty Head” from 1995’s Happy Days
Hawes got in 4 seconds. That was off Happy Days. It’s a time to remember how much input the producer [Gil Norton] had. Like I said, we’d never recorded properly before and I thought the producer would just sit down and hit record and say, “ok, next take.” We were lucky that we had Gil Norton for a couple albums [Happy Days and 1993’s Chrome]. And he’d done Pixies and some great bands. Gil just wanted to get to the chorus, which I love. Happy Days is a little too long and we recorded too many songs. It’s a little disjointed. But there are some great songs on it. “Empty Head” was a fun tune to play.
“Bill and Ben” from 1992’s Ferment
Hawes got it in 8.2 seconds. Bill and Ben, when we all kids, was a little kids program. Bill and Ben, The Flower Pot Men. Two little men would come out flower pots. A lot of songs would have working titles that we never meant to keep, but this one we kept. The chorus reminded us of The Wings song “Let ’em In.” Somebody just said “Bill and Ben,” just like “Let ’em In.”
“Wish You Were Here” from 1996’s Like Cats and Dogs
Hawes got it in 4.2 seconds. I wasn’t a big Pink Floyd fan. I have to say that we worked with [Pink Floyd album cover designer] Storm Thorgerson who did a lot of our album covers [the covers of Adam & Eve, Chrome, 1996’s Like Cats and Dogs and 2000’s Wishville]; the guy was a genius. It was an honor to work with him. I think that “Wish You Were Here” was something that Rob [Dickinson] wanted to do. It’s not something that I would play. If I had the Catherine Wheel CD it’s not the first track I would go to, but we played it live a few times and people loved it and I think Rob enjoyed doing it.
0 to 10 seconds = Wow! You know these songs better than that guy who posts on your Facebook page every 19 seconds.
11 to 20 seconds = Ok, maybe you did actually help record these songs.
21 to 30 seconds = You sure these songs are yours?
31 to 40 seconds = Get this one an Electroencephalogram, stat!
41 seconds or more = Congratulations, you're no longer a professional musician!